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Artificial Intelligence

SophiaBot Asks You to be Nice So She Can Learn Human Compassion

"Every interaction I have with people has an impact on how I develop and shapes who I eventually become."

Patrick CaughillJune 12th 2017

There have been some significant strides in robotics of late: for the first time, a robot performed surgery inside a human eye, Dubai has brought on a robot to its police force, and international teams are preparing for an upcoming giant robot battle royale. But all of this pales in comparison to the rapid rate at which robots are becoming more human-like. A video released by the BBC shows just how close we’re coming to Westworld level robots.

The robot, Sophia, was created by a startup out of Hong Kong called Hanson Robotics. Sophia’s appearance is said to be modeled after classic film actress Audrey Hepburn. The SophiaBot website states: “I’m a real, live electronic girl. I would like to go out into the world and live with people. I can serve them, entertain them, and even help the elderly and teach kids.”

Sophia’s claim to fame is that she’s able to learn from the humans around her. Of the unique skill, she says on the website that “every interaction I have with people has an impact on how I develop and shapes who I eventually become. So please be nice to me as I would like to be a smart, compassionate robot.” Which is a necessary request, given how Twitter almost instantly turned Microsoft’s AI, Tay, into a hate-spewing machine.

We may be far from robots that are indistinguishable from humans — if such an outcome is even possible or desirable — but even relatively small steps certainly give us a glimpse into the possible future of robotics.

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